Friday, July 08, 2011

Minnesota Government Shutdown

Government Shutdown Causes Problems for Minnesota Nonprofits

As the partial shutdown of Minnesota's state government enters its second week, many nonprofits are feeling the budgetary squeeze, the MinnPost reports.

Uncertain how long the shutdown will last, nonprofits in the state are doing what they can to stretch their cash reserves and wondering about their legal obligations to deliver services under a suspended government contract, their obligations to laid-off employees, and whether or not the state will reimburse them for services rendered after the budget stalemate has been resolved. While Kathleen Gearin, chief judge of the Ramsey District Court, issued a ruling last week that aimed to clarify which services would continue to be funded, confusion and uncertainty remain. Indeed, Mikkel Beckmen of St. Stephen's Human Services in Minneapolis told MinnPost that he had received letters from the state informing him it could not guarantee reimbursement for services provided during the shutdown.

On Tuesday, a number of nonprofit representatives argued before former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Blatz — special master in the shutdown case — that state funding should remain available to nonprofits during the shutdown. At the same time, Governor Mark Dayton sent Blatz a list of "critical" services he thinks should receive funding during the stalemate, including HIV case management, counseling for special education, and services for mental health problems, child care assistance, and victims of crime and violence.

Like other nonprofit leaders, Liz Kuoppala, who heads the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, argued for continued funding of emergency shelters for the homeless and battered. "They're holding on," she said, "but they don't know how long they can hold on."

Boyd, Cynthia. “Minnesota's Nonprofits Feel the Pain of Government Shutdown.” 7/06/11.

Primary Subject: Public Affairs
Secondary Subject(s): Civil Society, Human Services
Location(s): Minnesota

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